As our urban centres grow, so pressure builds on our green spaces. The drive to build new domestic, commercial and industrial property is hampered by a lack of available space and a need to often repurpose existing land. There is a tendency for new developments to be built in such a way that there is very little space for incorporating green elements such as verges, and the driving imperative is usually to make maximum use of what little space there is.
But of course greenery remains very important. The benefits of plants within the urban environment are well understood. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, plants are important in helping to absorb airborne particulates and significantly reduce pollution. And of course they encourage insects and birds vital to the health of gardens.
So what are the innovative options for incorporating plants into the urban environment in such a way that they integrate with our high density building programmes and maximise what little available space there is?
Fencing and boundary walls are the obvious areas in which developers and local authorities should be considering a green approach as part of their strategies for improving public health.
Mobilane’s Green Screen is, as the name suggests, a pre-cultivated screen which features a galvanised high carbon steel weldmesh that supports 65 ivy plants, each of which is trained through the mesh as it grows. The steel weldmesh itself delivers a highly effective security barrier, while the ivy flourishes and requires minimal maintenance (unlike a traditional hedge which requires periodic heavy pruning and is prone to collapse in high winds or snow). As well as different species of ivy, the screens can also feature Hornbeam, Beech, Ligustrum and Pyracantha.
Quick and easy to install, Green Screens come in a range of sizes and provide an instant green solution that becomes more verdant over time. They can be installed free standing or up against existing brick and stone walls, and can even be attached to walls above ground to create a living wall.
In both the private and public sector arena Green Screens have found a range of uses and have become widely popular for a number of applications, including narrow footprint fencing for high density housing developments, security fencing around public parks, car parks, business sites, schools and hospitals, also for graffiti prevention along highways, and central reservation fencing along dual carriageways, where they help to improve road safety.
Due to their narrow footprint Green Screens are idea for providing secure and sustainable perimeter fencing where space is an issue. Also, where pressure to meet tight construction deadlines means planting hedges and waiting for them to grow is not an option, Green Screens provide an instant and superior solution.
The ivy of Green Screens requires minimal maintenance and as well as helping to improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and airborne particulates, also serves to attract bees and other insects. The benefits of plants in tackling the ‘heat island effect’ in build-up areas is well understood.
Green Screens have an expected life of 45 years, giving them a very high biodiversity footprint. They also have additional benefits over walls and wooden fences as they deter graffiti and vandalism.
Green Screens represent an innovative and highly efficient solution to incorporating living plants into the busy urban environment, and with a wide range of applications, and multiple benefits, are becoming increasingly commonplace.